SciENcv, New NIH tool for Biosketches

“NIH has worked closely with six other federal agencies (DOD, DOE, EPA, NSF, USDA, and the Smithsonian), the Federal Demonstration Partnership, and the extramural research community to create a system that will provide comprehensive curriculum vita information, and at the same time reduce the burden associated with applying for research support. This system — the Science Experts Network or SciENcv — enables researchers to easily maintain and generate biosketches for federal grant applications and progress reports, and, as of September, is available to the public in a beta version.” More information is at http://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/2013/11/20/test-drive-sciencv/

Try it by going to My NCBI and sign in at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/

U.S. income inequality, on rise for decades, is now highest since 1928

by: Drew DeSilver
Source: Pew Research Center, FactTank

From article:

President Obama took on a topic yesterday that most Americans don’t like to talk about much: inequality. There are a lot of ways to measure economic inequality (and we’ll be discussing more on Fact Tank), but one basic approach is to look at how much income flows to groups at different steps on the economic ladder.

Full text

See also: Americans see growing gap between rich and poor

Plan B: Recommended Readings

In yesterday’s brown bag, Jim Trussell recommended reading some of the coverage of the Plan B, FDA, political interference story in the New York Times. I have listed a few of the articles on this issue. The article that reports on the judge in these cases, Korman, is dated June 14, 2013. The articles are listed in most recent to oldest order. You can waste a lot of time reading the comments, so be judicious.

New Birth Control Label Counters Lawsuit Claim
Pam Belluck | New York Times
November 27, 2013

F.D.A. Grants Exclusivity to Plan B One-Step
Pam Belluck | New York Times
June 24, 2013

Behind Scolding of the F.D.A., a Complex and Gentle Judge
Pam Belluck | New York Times
June 14, 2013

Federal Plan for ‘Morning After’ Pill’s Sale Is Approved
Pam Belluck | New York Times
June 13, 2013

Obama Waves White Flag in Contraceptive Battle
By Michael Shear | New York Times
June 12, 2013

Lifting Restrictions of ‘Morning After’ Pill has Little Impact for Drug Maker
Katie Thomas | New York Times
June 11, 2013

U.S. Drops Bid to Limit Sales of Morning-After Pill
Michael Shear and Pam Belluck
June 10, 2013

Judge Orders All Restrictions Lifted on Some ‘Morning-After’ Pills
Pam Belluck and Michael Shear
June 5, 2013

Temporary Limit Put on Sales of Morning-After Pill
Pam Belluck | New York Times
May 13, 2013

U.S. to Defend Age Limits on Morning-After Pill Sales
Pam Belluck and Michael Shear | New York Times
May 1, 2013

Drug Agency Lowers Age for Next-Day Birth Control
Pam Belluck | New York Times
April 30, 2013

Judge Strikes Down Age Limits on Morning-After Pill
Pam Belluck | New York Times
April 5, 2013

Good Sense on the Morning-After Pill
The Editorial Board | New York Times
April 5, 2013

Abortion Qualms on Morning-After Pill May Be Unfounded
Pam Belluck | New York Times
June 5, 2012

Drug’s Nickname May Have Aided Politicization
Pam Belluck | New York Times
June 5, 2012

Religious Groups Equate Abortion With Some Contraceptives
Pam Belluck and Erik Eckholm | New York Times
February 16, 2012

Obama Endorses Decision to Limit Morning-After Pill
Jackie Calmes and Gardiner Harris | New York Times
December 8, 2011

More Detail on Risk Urged for a Contraceptive Label
Pamm Belluck | New York Times
December 8, 2011

Massachusetts: Governor Overruled On Pill Bill
Pam Belluck | New York Times
September 16, 2005

Massachusetts Veto Seeks to Curb Morning-After Pill
Pam Belluck | New York Times
July 26, 2005

Pharmacies Balk on After-Sex Pill and Widen Fight in Many States
Monica Davey and Pam Belluck | New York Times
April 19, 2005

Death at the Summit: The story of Intrade

Death at the Summit
Graeme Wood | Pacific Standard Magazine
November 4, 2013

We have posted on prediction markets before, but this is a very nice, if long summary of the theory of prediction markets; use by scientists, mostly economists; the reaction to them by pundits; and the death of Intrade (and its founder).

Demographer/Blogger

Philip Cohen from the University of Maryland has a blog – Family Inequality. Some of his posts are picked up by The Atlantic and Sociological Images. His most recent foray into reaching the public is in a New York Times op-ed. Read it. It uses data – graphs reproduced below.

Philip Cohen has some ties to PSC as he wrote a very nice remembrance of PSC alumni Suzanne Bianchi on his blog. They overlapped at Maryland.

How Can We Jump-Start the Struggle for Gender Equality?
Philip Cohen | Opionator Blog [New York Times]
November 23, 2013

male vs female graphs

Project Tycho: Historical Disease Data

Project Tycho is funded by NIH and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It has taken historical data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS) and created count data for diseases by location for the 125 year history of the surveillance system. Three levels of data have been made available to users from the Project Tycho website.

Other useful resources:

  • Materials and Methods: Digitication of US Weekly Surveillance Reports between 1888 and 2011
  • Preliminary State Reports (scroll down for access – here’s an example for Michigan)
  • What does Tycho stand for?
  • And, here is a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine based on these data. It estimates that over 100 million cases of contagious diseases have been prevented in the U.S. since 1924 by vaccination programs against polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A, diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough).

    Contagious Diseases in the United States from 1888 to the Present
    New England Journal of Medicine
    November 28, 2013
    html | pdf

    Your Right Arm for a Publication in AER

    Here are a few posts on the publication process. The first, is a piece that reports that economists would give up half a thumb to publish in AER. Is this true, economists? The next piece is on an app that users can download to ping journals every time there is an article they’d like to read but can’t because of gated access, e.g. an OA button. We even include an image of the button. The final two pieces are on replication, a growing area of interest among the open access community. The first discusses a team that replicated multiple psychology publications. Were they replicable? Read the article. The second discusses using github as a repository for data and code.

    Your Right Arm for a Publication in AER?
    Arthur Attema, Werner Brower, Job Van Exel | Economic Inquiry
    March 24 2013
    Abstract | Paper
    The time tradeoff (TTO) method is popular in medical decision making for valuing health states. We use it to elicit economists’ preferences for publishing in top economic journals and for living without limbs.

    Open Access Button Press Release
    November 18, 2013
    Tracking and mapping the impact of paywalls one click at a time
    OA button

    Push Button for Open Access
    Stephen Curry | The Guardian
    November 18, 2013

    Psychologists strike a blow for reproducibility
    Ed Yong | Nature
    November 26, 2013
    . . . To tackle this ‘replicability crisis’, 36 research groups formed the Many Labs Replication Project to repeat 13 psychological studies.

    Git/GitHub, Transparency, and Legitimacy in Quantitative Research
    Zach Jones | The Political Methodologist
    November 18, 2013

    Reproducibility and R: Neotoma
    Simon J. Goring | Williams Lab Meeting
    University of Wisconsin -Madison
    November 19, 2013
    These are slides for a presentation about ways to improve the reproducibility of scientific workflows using R.

    Running Afoul of Regulators

    23andme, the popular genetic testing website, has received a cease and desist letter from the FDA. The gist of the letter is that they have not provided evidence that their test works. And, the FDA also worries that the general public does not have the scientific background to interpret the results. For instance, if a woman does not carry the BRCA gene, does that mean that mammograms are not necessary?

    Another take on the ‘no evidence’ by John Wilbanks is that 23andme is sitting on some dynamite data (or not). His piece touches on open data.

    FDA Warning Letter
    November 22, 2013

    FDA warns maker of genetic-testing kit
    Brady Dennis | Washington Post
    November 25, 2013

    The FDA said the company repeatedly has failed to provide the scientific data necessary to prove that its test works as advertised.

    Perhaps more significantly, the agency’s action underscores its unease about the potential consequences of direct-to-consumer genetic tests, which can provide people with detailed information but not necessarily the context necessary to interpret what it means or how they should proceed.

    It also highlighted a contentious debate that has unfolded in recent years over how and whether the government should police an individual’s access to information about his or her genes.

    FDA Tells 23andMe to Stop Marketing DNA Kits; 23andMe Says It’s Sorry for Being Slow
    Liz Gannes | All Things D blog (allthingsd.com)
    November 25, 2013


    23andme gets a nastygram for the holidays

    John Wilbanks | Del-Fi Blog (http://del-fi.org/)
    November 25, 2013
    “But since 23andme won’t tell anyone, we don’t know which way. This fits into a general pattern of espousing open science while not practicing it for the company.”

    FDA slaps personal genomics startup 23andme with stiff warning
    Dan Munro | Forbes
    November 25, 2013

    The curious case of 23andMe
    Ryan Bradley | CNN Money
    November 26, 2013

    And here are two articles from the past on 23andme:

    What Are Genomic Testing Firms Like 23andMe Really After?
    Shannon Brownlee | Mother Jones
    December 2009

    Consumers Slow to Embrace the Age of Genomics
    Andrew Pollack | New York Times
    March 19, 2010

    Do You Still Trust the Census Bureau?

    The New York Daily News had a typically provacative headline “Census ‘faked’ 2012 election jobs report” two nights ago. This is a serious charge and even more, it contributes fodder to those who do not trust or support the federal data infrastructure in the first place. The following is the banner above the comments section for the New York Post article – and this sentiment probably represents the early coverage of this story.

    trust census bureau logo

    The following is the coverage of this in chronological order (as much as possible). Note that there are some references to Jack Welch. He famously tweeted his disbelief of this particular jobs report back in 2012 [See previous coverage.]

    Census ‘faked’ 2012 election jobs report
    John Crudele | New York Post
    November 18, 2013

    If these claims by ‘reliable sources’ are proven true, the Obama administration will be dealing with another huge scandal
    Becket Adams | The Blaze (founded by Glenn Beck)
    November 18, 2013

    Census Bureau Statement on Collection of Survey Data
    November 19, 2013

    Here Are Some Issues With That Report About How The Unemployment Rate Was Faked Before The 2012 Election
    Joe Weisenthal | Business Insider
    November 19, 2013

    Was Jack Welch right? Jobs numbers under fire
    Jeff Cox | CNN
    November 19, 2013

    Did the Census Bureau Really Fake the Jobs Report?
    Jordan Weissmann | The Atlantic
    November 19, 2013

    Five questions about the New York Post’s unemployment story
    Erik Wemple | Washington Post
    November 19, 2013

    Census Sees No ‘Systemic Manipulation’ of U.S. Jobs Data
    Michelle Jamrisko | Bloomberg News
    Nov 19, 2013

    House panel to investigate unemployment data
    Annalyn Kurtz | CNN Money
    November 19, 2013

    House probes Census over ‘fake’ results
    John Crudele | New York Post
    November 19, 2013

    Rep. Issa gets involved in alleged Census data fabrication, demands documents: ‘These allegations are shocking’
    Becket Adams | The Blaze
    November 19, 2013

    Monthly jobs numbers from Census Bureau may have been manipulated since ‘10 – report
    RT USA
    November 19, 2013

    Republican House leaders to look into report on faked jobs data
    Reuters News Service
    November 20, 2013

    Political Questions About the Jobs Report
    Nelson Schwartz | New York Times
    November 20, 2013

    Census Bureau: No systematic manipulation of jobs data
    Paul Davidson | USA Today
    November 20, 2013

    Population ageing: the timebomb that isn’t?

    In the November 12, 2013 issue of the British Medical Journal “Jeroen Spijker and John MacInnes argue that current measures of population ageing are misleading and that the numbers of dependent older people in the UK and other countries have actually been falling in recent years.”

    Read the full text here.